While 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many of us, it also showed us how important it is to prioritize our mental health and take care of one another. Here are tips and takeaways from the past year that you can use to improve your mental health and sense of wellbeing in 2021.
Tip 1 - Make mindfulness a habit!
Society has been over glorifying the term ‘busy’ for so long now that as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic hit people were forced to slow down and realize just how chronically fatigued they were. By practicing mindfulness and being in tune with yourself and fully aware of your thoughts and emotions, you are able to identify matters you need to process and to also address your stress levels which is vital for keeping your mental health in check. Research shows that you can in fact train your brain to be more mindful through the practice of meditation.
Tip 2 - Practice Gratitude
Surely there’s a lot we’re grateful for but we often forget to take a moment and appreciate all the good things in our lives. Practicing gratitude is known to impact our emotions and helps us experience more positivity.
Why not take the time to dedicate a small journal that you can jot 5 things down on that you’re thankful for once a day? No matter how small! Or how about you pause to write a loved one a thank you e-mail expressing how appreciative you are for having them in your lives? The science behind giving thanks assures us that this habit will help you feel more alive, it will allow you to sleep better and can even support you in having a stronger immune system.
Tip 3 – Never neglect the self-care essentials!
You’ve heard this tip so many times already, but we can’t ignore how vital it is to stick to the basics of eating well, staying hydrated, sleeping enough and exercising. When those 4 pillars are not attended to in our routines, we will certainly feel out of balance and that would result in bad emotions being amplified. Sleep deprivation for example can make you irritable and can seriously reduce your efficiency and mental cognitive functions at work.
Whereas, committing to a 20-minute cardio session every weekday pushes your body to release endorphins that lift your mood and also act as natural painkillers.
Tip 4 – Try Something New
Venturing into areas that interest us in life acts as a stepping stone to facing our fears; we often don’t try new things because we’re afraid that we won’t perform well at them but once we do and matters turn out to be a lot better than we thought, we feel a sense of accomplishment and increased confidence levels. When trying new things, like a different sport or signing up for a crafty course, our minds are put in unique situations that push us to think in new ways which stimulates creativity and changes our perspective on matters beyond this new found hobby or adventure. Take the time to make a list of things that you always found interesting but never tried and set a date to bring this new practice to life!
Tip 5 – Care for Others
Giving back to the community makes us feel needed and valued which is vital for having healthy self-esteem levels. It also helps us see the world from a new angle and can help place our own problems in perspective which heightens our levels of gratefulness as well. Helping others also provides us with a sense of purpose and identity and helps in building a healthy community that is kind and compassionate. Look up some local charities near you and volunteer with them when you can.